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UK politics news: Hancock broke ministerial code, Labour suggests as Greensill faces new investigation

Rory Sullivan
·1-min read
Health secretary Matt Hancock speaks at a press conference on 17 March, 2021.  (PA)
Health secretary Matt Hancock speaks at a press conference on 17 March, 2021. (PA)

Labour has accused Matt Hancock of appearing to breach the ministerial code, after it emerged that the health secretary was given a 20 per cent share in a company owned by his sister shortly before it won a lucrative NHS contract.

Topwood Ltd of Wrexham, a document-shredding firm, was awarded a three-year contract – reportedly worth £300,000 – by NHS Wales. A government spokesperson said Mr Hancock had “acted entirely properly in these circumstances”, adding that there was “no conflict of interest”.

Meanwhile, the government’s lobbying scandal is showing no signs of abating, after it was revealed that a second Cabinet Office adviser also worked for the now-collapsed lender Greensill, which went on to employ David Cameron as a lobbyist.

And Whitehall’s spending watchdog, the National Audit Office, announced on Friday that it was investigating Greensill Capital’s involvement in the government’s Covid-19 support schemes – including the accreditation process by which the now-defunct firm was authorised to issue vast government-backed loans.

This comes after Eric Pickles, head of the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments, said on Thursday that there were no “boundaries” between Whitehall and the private sector, as Labour’s shadow minister Rachel Reeves accused the government of not doing enough to keep cronyism “in check”.